I seem to have found yet another home away from home. Emmet county is up in the northern part of Michigan. I was first introduced to this beautiful part of the United States in 2012 at Photostock. Photostock, the brainchild of world-renowned photographer Bill Schwab is a gathering of photographers in his backyard. And in its early years, it was literally in his backyard, but by the time I started going, it had moved to the Birchwood Inn; this throw-back backwoods hotel would make you think you had stepped back into the 1960s. I have written about Photostock before, but this time it’s different.
Photostock is important as an event and community; this ‘Photostock Nation’ has become a second family to many who have attended. I knew only one person when I first attended the event in 2012. But I was greeted immediately like an old friend. And yes, it can be a bit intimidating. There was a group of many older photographers who had played the trade for decades. And here I was…I wasn’t even developing my film. That, of course, changed very quickly. After that first event, I developed all the B&W films I shot that year.
So why is this event so important? Because often, as photographers, we find ourselves working alone. Long nights in the darkroom or long trips out to get our photos. But this is where Photostock comes into play; it gives us all a chance to talk one-on-one or in groups about the craft, the gear, the tricks, and the art as a whole. During the days of Photostock, birchwood and the surrounding area comes alive with Photographers. Even on solo trips through the area, I often found myself running into other attendees and sitting down for lunch, sharing some areas.
This event is Bill’s dream and one he has welcomed this family to share and be a part of. And now he again needs our help. In 2013 he put another piece of the dream into place, a workshop facility to help teach, train, and share. He has the exterior is done and most of the interior. If you feel a strong draw, I encourage you to support Bill in finishing it! You can check it out on Kickstarter here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/billschwab/photostock-workshop-facility-the-final-phase! And I do encourage you to come to an event, you can find details here: www.photostockfest.com.